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Each of us has his own ideas of what love
is. Sometimes the thought of love brings pleasant feelings to mind; sometimes
it brings painful ones. Usually, though, when we think of love, we think
of a feeling. Is that what love is? No, true love is an
rather than a feeling. There are several passages of scripture which command
us to love (Matthew
6:27, 35; Luke
15:12, 17; Romans
5:25, 33; Colossians
Peter 2:17; 1
John 4:21). This makes it apparent that love is an
action rather than a feeling. The Bible describes love for us:
|4Love is patient, love
is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It
is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps
no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices
with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes,
always perseveres. 8Love never fails. . . –1
Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV)
When you say that you love someone, is
the above description true of your relationship with the one you claim
to love? Think of your relationships with those you love–your
husband or wife, your children, your parents, your siblings, your friends,
etc. Do they know from your actions–the
ones mentioned above–that
you love them?
If you truly love someone, then several
qualities will be present in your relationship with him. (The words
"her" and "she" can also be substituted for "him" and "his" throughout
this article to be appropriate for all of those whom you love.)
Is all of this true of the ones you claim
to love? It ought to be, because that is what God's Word says love is.
Love is patient.
You will patiently remember that he is only human the same as you are,
and that everyone makes mistakes just like you do. When he errs, you will
forgive him the way that you would like to be forgiven. You will consider
his interests to be just as important as your own, because he is
just as important as you are.
Love is kind.
You will give him the same consideration that you would like to be given.
You will speak with words and a tone that you would like to hear if you
were the one being spoken to and treat him the way you wish to be treated.
You will make the effort to meet him at least halfway, because that is
the way that you would also like to be treated. You will always give consideration
to his feelings, because he matters to you.
with the truth. When he accomplishes something good, you
will be happy for him and celebrate with him. It will be just as important
to you as if you as your own achievements.
Love always protects.
His safety, reputation, and feelings will be of utmost importance to you.
You will never intentionally do anything that would endanger his
physical health or well-being. In addition, you will be just as protective
of his mental and spiritual well-being. No one else will ever hear you
say destructive things to or about him. Everyone has room for improvement,
so your words are designed to build him up rather than to tear him down.
You have his best interests at heart and want to protect his reputation
and his feelings, because they are just as important as yours.
Love always trusts.
You will have confidence in him the way he should you. You will remember
that, even when he makes a mistake or hurts your feelings, he didn't set
out to do so on purpose. You will forgive and wipe the slate clean. You
will push jealous, suspicious, doubting, and skeptical thoughts out of
your mind where he is concerned, and give him the same "benefit of the
doubt" that you would like to receive from him.
Love always hopes.You
will have faith in him and your relationship with him. You will have confidence
that he is capable of being a good person and accomplishing great things
and you give encouragement in that direction. You will look toward a continued
thriving relationship with him in the future.
Love always perseveres.
Even when the bad things come, you will stick with him no matter what.
You will be there to share the joys and tears. You will be there to give
comfort and to be comforted. Through thick and thin, you will face whatever
comes your way together.
Love Is Not
In addition, if you truly love someone,
then several qualities will be absent in your relationship with him.
Are all of these factors also true of the
one you claim to love? According to God's Word, it ought to be–if
you really love that person.
Love does not
envy. Because you have his best interests at heart, you
won't resent anything he has or anything he accomplishes. You will be glad
when he is happy.
Love does not
boast. You will not say boastful things which might tempt
him to be envious. You will humbly remember that you are no better than
he is, and therefore you will never say anything that would put him down
in order to elevate yourself.
Love is not proud.
You will not allow your pride to get in the way, because your relationship
with him is much more important than your pride. You will not think so
much of yourself or your desires that he or his desires are belittled.
When you make a mistake, you will readily admit it and be genuinely apologetic.
Love is not rude.
You will remember how important he is to you and will treat him with respect
and dignity. Your considerate words and your actions will be evidence of
how important he is to you.
Love is not self-seeking.
You will consider his needs and desires to be as important as your own.
You will never strive to get what you want if it means hurting him.
Love is not easily
angered. You will not jump to conclusions where he is concerned.
You will calmly get the facts before you form an opinion about anything
he has done, failed to do, and/or his motives. Rather than pass judgment,
you will calmly discuss the problem with him and use only "constructive"
criticism which will serve to correct the situation.
Love keeps no
record of wrongs. You will remember that in the same way
you forgive him, you will be forgiven for your shortcomings.
3:13.) Therefore, you will not dredge up past shortcomings
and sins when you are angry. You will realize that, just like you, he can
only live in the present and deal with the here-and-now.
Love does not
delight in evil. When something goes wrong in his life,
you will not take delight in his misfortune–even
if he somehow brought the situation upon himself. Instead, when he faces
trouble, you will face it with him, lending encouragement and help whenever
You Really Love?
After reviewing all of those factors of
what love is and is not, do you really love those you claim to?
Remember, love isn't just a
is an action. Do your actions make it clear that you love the ones
you claim to? Surely, each of us falls short in one or more of the actions
of love. Keep the characteristics of love in mind and put them into practice
as you interact with others, because as God's Word assures us, love
Copyright © 2002 Kimberly
B. Southall. All rights reserved.